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EPA EXPANDS USE OF SECTOR-BASED APPROACHES TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Release Date: 12/18/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1998

EPA EXPANDS USE OF SECTOR-BASED APPROACHES TO
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

As part of the Agency’s reinvention efforts, industrial sector-based approaches to environmental protection are being intensified within both EPA’s core regulatory programs, such as permitting and enforcement, and non-regulatory programs, such as research and technical assistance. A new action plan will apply lessons learned from a four-year experimental program, the Common Sense Initiative (CSI), a high-priority reinvention effort launched by Administrator Browner in 1994. CSI was designed to move beyond the single media, one-size-fits-all approach to regulation that has characterized and often limited environmental protection efforts. Using an inclusive and unprecedented process, CSI brought together industry, state and local governments, environmental and environmental justice groups, and organized labor to work together to find strategies that would work more fairly, efficiently and cost effectively for industry and other stakeholders. Six sectors were chose for attention: automobile manufacturing, computers and electronics, iron and steel, metal finishing, petroleum refining and printing. The new plan calls for EPA to build its management and analytical capacity to conduct sector-based work and to craft sector-based strategies in cooperation with external stakeholders. The plan was presented at the final CSI meeting on Dec. 17. A second and related plan, also ready for implementation, will improve EPA’s ability to involve stakeholders in environmental decision making. It is based on the recommendations of CSI representatives as well as the Agency’s experiences in working with stakeholders through other forums. The action plan includes guidance for developing a common language to improve understanding by stakeholders and a process for deciding when and how stakeholders will be involved in Agency decision making. Both of the plans can be found on EPA’s website at: www.epa.gov/reinvent. A new report, “The Common Sense Initiative: Lessons Learned about Protecting the Environment in Common Sense, Cost-effective Ways,” also is available on the website. It describes the goals and most significant outcomes of CSI and presents essays from CSI participants. A committee on sectors is being created under EPA’s National Advisory Committee for Environmental Protection and Technology that will provide advice as EPA implements its sector-based activities.

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